“The Advertiser” (UK) 20 January 2012
In 2008 I reviewed an album by Randy Thompson and stated “once in a very long time comes along an album that has such strong cross generation appeal. On first listen I was absolutely sold. “Further On” is probably the most exciting and satisfying album to come my way in a long time”. After repeatedly playing Thompson’s new album I completely stand behind those words. “Collected” (Jackpot Records) is a collection of 15 tracks recorded by Randy over the last 13 years. There are three newly released tracks, the current hit single and eleven tracks culled from previous albums, eight of which made the European Top Ten. Thompson’s selection for “Collected” could not be better for all 15 performances are superb. The music has no direct references to traditionalism though the underlying themes are there particularly on tunes like the traditional “Goin’ Down To Lynchburg Town” with Randy’s banjo and Colin Thompson’s slide guitar harking back to a different era, and “Ol’ 97”, a sort of Roy Acuff meets Steve Earle experience featuring bluegrass super fiddler Rickie Simpkins. Thompson’s poetry and energy are in great abundance throughout beautifully portrayed particularly on the opening track “Songbird”, for me one the best performances of the last ten years. www.randythompson.net
Exactly a year ago I brought to your attention “Twin Fiddles Turn Me On” by that superb fiddler/vocalist Jody Nix. Well I am pleased to report that Hillside Records have brought us Jody’s new release “Bright Lights And Country Music”. As on his previous release Jody has brought together some of country’s best loved songs penned by some of country music’s greatest tunesmiths ranging from Bill Anderson (title song) to Rodney Crowell (“I Couldn’t Leave You If I Tried”), from Cindy Walker (“Blue Bonnet Lane”, “Sugar Moon”) to Hank Cochran (“Darlin’ You’re Stronger Than Me”, “Shoes”). Also included are the little covered Johnny Russell ballad “The Only Thing I Want” and the beautiful Ed Burt western tune “Silver Dew On The Bluegrass”. That warm friendly voice and amazing fiddle is accompanied, as before, by Jody’s band; Robert Weeks (second fiddle, mandolin), Junior Knight (steel, lead and acoustic guitars), Brandy Weeks (bass), Dixie Hankins (drums) with Chip Bricker adding the honky tonk piano. www.amazon.co.uk
Today marks the eighty-eighth birthday of the UK’s most popular singer for more than 60 years. Happy birthday Slim Whitman! Slim’s first album, “America’s Favourite Folk Artist” was released in 1954, his last, “Twilight On The Trail”, in 2010. From 1952 to 1976 Slim enjoyed 6 UK Top 20 hits including “Indian Love Call”, “Rose Marie” (a number one), “I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen” and, his last UK hit, “Happy Anniversary”.
Remember there are stars in the southern sky.
“The Advertiser” (UK) 27 January 2012
The Dobro, now widely referred to as the resonator guitar, has had a long and interesting history. Created by two Slovakians, the Dopyera Brothers, the Dobro gained popularity through the talents of such players as Bashful Brother Oswald (Beecher Kirby) who played with Roy Acuff for many years from the 1930s. The instrument was widely used in country for three decades before becoming associated with bluegrass music, notably through Josh Graves who played with Flatt and Scruggs. During the 1970s the instrument found favour with mainstream country and rock artists. Johnny Cash celebrated the instrument on “When Papa Played Dobro”; Lynyrd Skynyrd used it on “The Ballad Of Curtis Lowe and Mark Knopfler, he of Dire Straits, even posed with it on the cover of the “Brothers In Arms” album. Eric Clapton also liked the Dobro. Eric played it on Kinky Friedman’s “Ol’ Ben Lucas” and during a tour of the UK Don Williams invited Eric to play the Dobro on stage with him. In 1994 Gibson Guitars bought the rights to the Dobro a beautiful sounding instrument that is, sadly, only occasionally heard outside of bluegrass where the Dobro still continues to be the choice of many young musicians including Ethan Hughes. Ethan was born into bluegrass. His parents led a group called Fretloose and the sounds he heard on those Wednesday night rehearsals determined his future. Though still in his early twenties Hughes has developed a vocal and picking style second to none. To hear him perform is an awesome experience as listeners are discovering with his latest release “Searching For A Home” (Patuxent). For this project Ethan surrounded himself with like minded, vastly talented, young musicians to create an album that will, without a doubt, garner many nominations and awards during 2012. The opening track, “Searching For A Home”, shows Hughes has another talent, songwriter, with a tune that really sets the tone for the rest of the album with great banjo, fiddle and guitar breaks establishing the band’s credibility. The remaining eleven tracks come from traditional sources and the recordings of other bluegrass greats; Doyle Lawson (“Poet With Wings”), Bill Monroe (“Stay Away From Me”) and Paul Williams (“Deep River”). Though essentially a traditional bluegrass performer Hughes does explore other territory for tunes including on this collection a superb version of Leon McAuliffe’s “Panhandle Rag”, Paul Overstreet’s “I Couldn’t Find My Walking Shoes” and the much covered Boudleaux Bryant hit “Love Hurts”. Brilliant stuff! www.pxrec.com
Buddy Emmons, “The Wold’s Foremost Steel Guitarist”, is seventy-five years young today. The title bestowed upon him is truly deserved for Buddy can play anything from country to classical, from pop to big band swing with consummate ease. He has added his talents to recordings by such diverse artists as Ernest Tubb, Judy Collins, Ray Price, Lenny Breau, the Everly Brothers and hundreds more. Happy birthday Buddy!
Remember there are stars in the southern sky.
“The Advertiser” (UK) 3 February 2012
Mark Wayne Glasmire really knows the music business. Raised in Pennsylvania he became involved in music when his parents bought him a guitar for Christmas when he was ten. Completing his college studies Mark tried Nashville where he gained a following but no record deal so after plugging away for a few years he moved to Arlington in Texas. Here he worked with such top acts as Guy Clark and Dierks Bentley and released his acclaimed album “Life Goes On”. Now, with world-wide recognition for his superb vocals, great guitar picking and songwriting skills, Glasmire is truly on the way up. The latest project is a mini album titled “Going Home”, a collection of top drawer originals that, on occasion, brought back memories of the past. “I Like You” is a simple and utterly charming ode to love
that recalled for me Gilbert O’Sullivan whilst “The Moment” is definitely one for fans of the late great John Denver. As if to emphasise he is not just a ballad singer Glasmire includes “She’s Got It All”, a great country rocker. My top favourite track though has to be “Last Of A Dying Breed” a beautifully constructed song that bemoans the loss of true family values. Mark Wayne Glasmire is definitely going places. Do not miss this one. www.cdbaby.com/glasmire3
It is hard to believe but yes it really is fifty-three years ago today that Buddy Holly, together with the Big Bopper (J.P. Richardson) and Ritchie Valens, died in a plane crash en route from Iowa to Minnesota. Because of atrocious weather conditions the tour decided to abandon their bus and charter a plane. It was only a small aircraft so a couple of band members, including the young bassist named Waylon Jennings, had to continue by road. If the plane had been bigger country music would have been minus one legend.
Today is also the birth date of the late Linda Hargrove. Linda was active during the 1970s and was known as the “Blue Jean Country Queen” because on stage she wore jeans and minimal makeup. Though her records were largely unsuccessful in chart terms her songs proved very popular; Johnny Rodriguez took her “Just Get Up And Close The Door” to number one in 1975, Olivia Newton-John succeeded with “Let It Shine” (No.1. Pop and No.5 Country) that same year and “Tennessee Whiskey” was a number two for George Jones in 1983. My favourite Hargrove song though is “I’ve Never Loved Anyone More” as recorded by Billie Jo Spears. During the early 1980s Linda found Christ and committed her life to Gospel. She died in 2010 aged 61.
Remember there are stars in the south sky.
The Advertiser” (UK) 10 February 2012
It seems every generation or so when country music is deviating a young guy comes along to remind us of the true values of the music. During the mid-1980s, when the Urban Cowboy craze was taking country in a pop direction, a young Kentuckian called Dwight Yoakam appeared with a winning brand of stone honky tonk. His success nudged a number of his peers back toward a more authentic country sound. Fast forward a quarter of a century along comes Jack Higginbotham a young Texan who is proving to be the Dwight Yoakam of the new millennium by reminding the world of what country music really is. Jack was not born into country music. His first love was track and field sports that brought him trophies and accolades though when he graduated at the end of 2008 he promptly dropped sports in favour of country music. I country terms Jack was a relatively late starter. He began singing in church at age 13 and three years later began picking guitar. His first influences were the young “hats”; Garth Brooks, Rhett Akins, Doug Stone, etc but as he got older (some may say also wiser) his influences changed to Cash, Jennings, Haggard and Twitty who influenced not only his singing but his writing too. Two years ago Jack released a demo album to show patrons only and the rewarding 500 plus sales encouraged him to release a “proper” album. “Roots” is a collection of original honky tonkers, all but one penned by Jack that will warm the heart of any true country music lover. Jack’s voice is pure Texas country and his musicians are simply superb as can be attested by such tracks as “Small Town Kid”, “Whiskey Drinkin’ Man”, “Hate To See Her Go” and “Remember Their Names”, a tribute to the men and women who are putting their lives on the line throughout the world to defend freedom. www.jackhiggmusic.com
On this very day in 1979 Eddie Rabbitt topped the charts with the theme from the movie “Every Which Way But Loose”. The album’s soundtrack gained platinum status and produced three more number one hits. The movie, with its entirely country soundtrack (Charlie Rich, Mel Tillis, Hank Thompson, etc), grossed almost 105 million dollars at the box office. The obligatory follow-up, “Any Which Way You Can”, was also highly successful. Though panned by the critics these two films rank as Clint Eastwood’s most successful movies and they created a trend toward more country flavoured movies such as “W.W. and The Dixie Dance Kings” and the three “Cannonball Run” outings all starring Burt Reynolds who is 76 tomorrow. Happy birthday Burt!
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Visit our new message board "LET'S TALK ABOUT JESUS" It is for everyone-- Christians and truth seekers answers board-- to find out about your great gift from God. visit Elton Houck at his homesite Vistit our TEXAS TWISTER MP3-WEBSITE---TEXAS TWISTER MP3 WEBISTE---
LET'S TALK ABOUT JESUS
Visit our new message board "LET'S TALK ABOUT JESUS" It is for everyone-- Christians and truth seekers answers board-- to find out about your great gift from God.
visit Elton Houck at his homesite
Vistit our TEXAS TWISTER MP3-WEBSITE---TEXAS TWISTER MP3 WEBISTE---